The week in pictures: 25 November – 1 December
This week in pictures features a Greek producer’s London tasting, The Dorchester and Alain Ducasse, a party in a Tube station and db’s Jessica Mason winning a beer writing award.
British Guild of Beer Writers
Beer editor for the drinks business Jessica Mason has won a top gong at the British Guild of Beer Writers for Best Beer Business Communicator in 2023. The gold award, which was the result of a series of articles that she wrote for the publication, was presented on Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Big Penny Social, located on the Blackhorse Beer Mile in Walthamstow.
You can read Mason’s articles that won her the award here.
Previously of J Sheekey, HKK (RIP), Roka and palace hotel, The Ritz, where he spent six years, Matteo Furlan DipWSET became commander in chief of wines at The Dorchester in April.
Alongside a festive spread orchestrated by Martyn Nail, Culinary Director at the deluxe Park Lane property since July 2022, Furlan prescribed pairings at the Baccarat chandelier-lit Chef’s Table, which adjoins the wine vault, amidst the main kitchens.
Showcasing the fruits of a partnership between the hotel and VistaJets, dishes served at ground level, which can be adapted for flight, included Cornish lobster with claw, spiced crab crust, and “Sauce Americaine” with fresh seeming 2018 Cuvée Terlaner Classico from Trentino; the amusingly titled “Partridge In A Pear Tree” its breast truffled, with Jerusalem artichoke and a Christmas tree like pine frond with the crunchy 2019 Dolcetto from Vigna del Mabdorle Cogno, Alba; a saddle, initially presented whole, of sika venison with juniper sauce, Savoy cabbage, confit potatoes, particularly skilfully made chestnut pithivier, and optional Brussels sprouts alongside a gently developing six-year-old Cahors (Domaine Cosse Maisonneuve Le Combal); followed by a lightened take on Christmas pudding, and a Christmas cracker shaped Black Forest Yule Log.
The latter met Philippe Delesvaux’s gently honeyed Coteaux du Layon Passerillé 2018. Having spent 36 years as Executive Chef at Claridge’s, Nail today oversees the offer at the revamped Promenade at The Dorchester which stars Liberace’s restored mirrored piano, played daily, the transformed Vesper bar, named after Casino Royale’s double agent, Vesper Lynd, spa, all banqueting, and, coming next year, a permanent restaurant on the roof of the distinctive property, whose builder, Sir Malcolm McAlpine, once declared to be ‘bomb-proof, earthquake-proof and fireproof’.
Coinciding with the dinner, Alain Ducasse, holder of 21 Michelin stars, including three at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, launched his new book, “Good Taste”. This was described by critic, Richard Vines: “From his years learning to master and perfect the classics, then a creative approach to traditional gastronomy through to his more recent celebration of vegetarian dishes that combine finesse with beautiful flavours. He’s a man for all seasons.”
Douglas Blyde ventured to Medlar, Chelsea, to try the wines of Greek producer, T-oinos with its Dunkirk-born, self-taught oenology consultant, Stéphane Derenoncourt.
To demonstrate the “energy” of the location of the estate on Tinos Island, some 35 minutes ferry ride northwest of Mikonos, the tasting began with a film of a rock guitarist-filmmaker performing a bespoke solo amidst the substantial granite boulders which characterise the salty wind buffeted, schist-rich vineyards.
Here, at altitudes reaching 460 metres, a full-time team of eight organically tend 13 hectares of Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano, sown at a density of 11,500 vines per hectare, resulting in just 25,000 bottles per year. Since the inaugural 2008 vintage, Derenoncourt, who visits up to eight times a year, has reduced oak. In conjunction with owner, “visioner”, and Corfu native, Alexandre Avatangelos, and vineyard manager, Michalis Tzanoulinos, Derenoncourt has illuminated the island’s viability for viticulture, building on its legacy of 4,000 years of grape growing, in so doing inspiring five more producers to venture here.
Wines are available from Oeno House and range from the £80 flamboyant, indefatigable of finish, heatwave Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko 2021 to the supple, ferrous, positively balsamic £172 Clos Stegasta Mavrotragano Rare 2019, as well as a yet to be released brilliantly bracing rosé which acts like “a good white wine with red aromas”, says Derenoncourt.
This is not Derenoncourt’s first foray into Greece’s terroirs, having previously consulted on Argyros, Santorini, an island from which he is “pretty sure not all Santorini Assyrtiko comes.” As well as the Cyclades, clients are found in Bordeaux, England, Lebanon, Syria, and the USA.
Premium tonic and mixed brand Double Dutch threw a surprise party on the platform for commuters turning Bond Street station into Bubbles and Sparkles.
Complete with live music from DJ Shalishah Kay and drinks, the Double Dutch team brought some unexpectedness for commuters travelling during the weekday rush hour.